In 5 experiments, participants read text that was briefly replaced by a transient image for 33 ms at random intervals. A decrease in saccadic frequency, referred to as saccadic inhibition, occurred as early as 60 –70 ms following the onset of abrupt changes in visual input. It was demonstrated that the saccadic inhibition was influenced by the saliency of the visual event (Experiment 3) and was not produced in response to abrupt but irrelevant auditory stimuli (Experiment 1). Display changes restricted to an area either inside or outside the perceptual span required for normal reading produced strong saccadic inhibition (Experiment 2). Finally, Experiments 4 and 5 demonstrated higher level cognitive or attentional modulation of the saccadic inhibition effect.
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